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Romania XLVI

By gss  
The church and the bell tower (partially hidden) of the Orthodox monastery "Radu-Vodă" in Bucharest. 1570-1586. 1595 totally destroyed. Actual church: 1613-14, original lost paintings 1624-25; heavy transformed in Gothic Revival between 1859-63. Restored to the almost original aspect between 1962-64 and 1970-74.

Radu-Vodă is a composed name designating a Romanian Prince. Elective monarchy in Romanian Principalities was lead by a "Prince", in western terms; in Romanian history, the ruler had 2 titles: first indicating that he is the "land owner"; second, indicating that he was the "chief of the army". The first came from Latin, the second from Slavonic. So each local ruler was both Domn and Voievod. Domn came from "Dominus", the master, the owner of all. Voievod means in Slavonic "chief warrior". In popular language, "voievod" became shorter "vodă" and was used as a suffix like, at the end of the ruler name. Radu - Vodă could be translate as "Rudolph the chief-warrior".

The church had a very tragic history, was demolished or mutilated 3 times and was built, rebuilt or restored 4 times.
The church is situated on the older Paleolithic site in Romania, that became a Dacian town in Antiquity. In 1570, as the capital of Wallachia, on the Ottoman demand, was changed from Tārgovişte to Bucharest, the Prince Alexandru II Mircea built a large monastery for monks playing the provisionally role of Metropolitan church. The church was finished by the Prince Mihnea Turcitul (Mihnea the "Turk converted", as he passed to Islam, the single case in Wallachia history) in 1586. 9 years later, after the fights between Prince Michael the Brave and the Ottoman chief Soliman (Suleyman) Pasha, Bucharest was occupied for 2 months by the Turks. Soliman built a famous wooden palisade, in fact a wooden fortress) all around the Radu Voda church. Soliman Pasha decided to convert this church dedicated to the St Trinity, into a Turkish mosque, but Michael the Brave took again control on Bucharest, so Soliman, quickly, demolished the church as a revenge. Between 1613-14, the ruler Radu Mihnea built the actual church, dedicated to the same Patron, in a form very close to the actual. As the big quake from 1802, and the following from 1829 and 1838 have heavily damaged the church, between 1859-63, the church was intensively modified, in a style close to Gothic Revival. Its new aspect was "immortalized" in some engravings , drawings , paintings and pictures. Communist regime has an important merit in many costly restorations (was in the era of approaching towards western democracies, 1965-1980). So, one of the best group of restorers lead by a good architect specialist in heritage restorations, Ştefan Balş, started in 1962-64 a very difficult project; it ended between 1970-74, and restored 90 % of the original form; some of the XIX century changes, considered valuables, were also kept in place or in the neighborhood, as another monastery functions.
The old cells were completely destroyed in 1916 in the WWI, and a new big building was built as a Theological Seminary, the greatest in Bucharest, functional even today. The church houses the tomb of the third Romanian Patriarch, Justinian.
The church is built at the top of a small hill, not far to the Patriarchy church, built also on the top of a hill, and both are built in the same style. The late communist regime tried to hidden them by masking the 2 hills by continuous fronts of blockhouses of 12-15 levels, so nobody can imagine there are 2 hills.
In the last years were brought part of the relics of Saint Nektarios the Wonderworker in Aegina, and almost every day are big pilgrimages. Due its Seminary, the monastery has a wonderful student choir.

Tags: Church Architecture Romania Restoration Orthodox Bucharest Radu-voda

Voters: woolybill1, G_Hughes, doverpic and 14 more

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4 Oct 2015 8:10PM
Great description and shot Silviu. Cathy
Bantu 8 7 1 India
5 Oct 2015 7:08AM
Silivieu,history explained with captures.

bliba Plus
16 2 Austria
5 Oct 2015 12:55PM
a fine well presentedWink

Multumesc pentru descriereaWinkWinkWink

Maiwand 15 3 73 England
5 Oct 2015 7:28PM
Wonderful narrative and image Silviu.GrinGrinGrinGrinGrinGrinGrinGrin
29 Oct 2015 2:42AM
A great story behind this lovely old building. I enjoyed reading it as one of my ( late) best friends was from Your country. Last name Stefan.
cheers walt

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